Arcania Gothic 4 is a laid-back RPG, which provides an inferior alternative to Dragon Age Origins, but that is about it.
When I first downloaded the demo of Gothic 4, I was amazed at the extremely colorful and beautiful scenery that the game had. Initially, I had problems with my HD settings because the game does require you to have an HDTV or you won't be able to see the text on your screen (it will be shown in a small font and you won't make what it says at all). The gameplay seemed simple, yet fun. So, I decided to invest a little money in this game, once it dropped down in price, plus the fact that it got a score of 5 here on Gamespot made me wait a bit to save some cash.
Just for the protocol, I would have to say that I have not played any of the previous Gothic games, but I can assure you that this installment is a very dumbed-down version of a "Gothic" game (according to the experts) as well as a very dumbed-down version of an RPG. Well, the modern day RPG to be precise.
The story or Arcania is that of revenge and fighting spiritual beings ('angels and demons" if you like). Saying anything more than that will spoil the game, but the story is not that weak, but nothing we have not seen before in the gaming world. 7/10
Grading the graphics will be kind of tricky. Understand that, scenery and some of the locations in Gothic 4 are extremely beautiful and mesmerizing. There is a giant tree town in the middle of a swamp that looks amazing (for example), or the color palette of the entire world is very well designed as a whole. Character graphics and design though is a let-down. You will be talking to maximum of 5-6 different characters designs and each NPC has one of those 5-6 character features. It is bothersome when you are talking to 10 different NPCs but they all look exactly the same. 6/10 (primarily for the scenery)
The game soundtrack is pretty solid. There is some orchestral music which fits in with the whole idea behind the game and adds to the magnitude it tries to create. Voice-acting is horrendous however. It is really bad as sometimes you will be listening to an NPC which happens to have two different voices during the same conversation (for example). 6/10
Gameplay is simple. Combat is also very primitive as you have three types of attacks - melee, ranged and magic. You can also block and evade attacks. Gameplay is pretty much glitch free and is very simple, kind of boring at times, but could be fun as well. There are a lots of items to be picked and looting system works well, despite the fact that the character has an infinite amount of inventory space. Yes, you don't have a limit so you can just pick up everything and you won't get over-encumbered. This bothered me for a while, but I got used to it as you will, once the looting begins. 7/10
Overall, Gothic 4 is fun, but an old-school RPG. By old school I mean that you have only three types of attacks - ranged, melee and magic. You will also get CGI cutscenes between each area of the world you are exploring/while unfolding the story. If you are looking for an alternative to Dragon Age Origins then you can rent this game. If you are looking for lots of looting, trading, character customization, side missions and decent story (with some nice graphics) then this game is for you (it is also 99 % glitch free). Gothic 4 is a "lightweight" and not so deep RPG that will provide about 35 hours of gameplay (to achieve 85 % completion of achievements) and overall, I can only recommend it if you don't have anything to play and are craving an RPG.